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The South Asian Insider

Modi Brings “Era of Peace” to UN – and Enters a Limitless Marriage in Wash DC

By Ravi Batra
Our cherished July 4th – embedded with “unalienable rights” and collateralized by our “sacred honor” thanks to Freedoms’ architect Thomas Jefferson – is around the corner. On the longest day of the year in June, PM Narendra Modi, whom the Australian PM Tony Albanese calls “The Boss,” took the world by storm at the UN – which I call the “Vatican of Peace” – and delivered on his 2015 Samarkand Declaration: that “today’s era is not an era of war,” by getting most of the world’s diplomats to join him in Yoga for better health and life, in an implicit rejection of war’s death and destruction. Indeed, so affected by the Modi magic in the air is that folks came by the thousands to to do Yoga on the North Lawn. Even I, limitations aside, got down on a yoga mat for the first time in my life; as to how I got up, Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” cloaks the moment. That India’s PR Ruchira Kamboj and her team worked tirelessly is again PM Modi’s attribute, for it is he who has made India’s government “for the people,” honoring Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Covenant and making 1.4 billion Indians believe they are Americans too with inalienable rights. That members of the UNSC’s P5 and E10 attended, along with an overwhelming majority of the member states, partook in the Multilateral State Breakfast at sunrise followed by Yoga speaks volumes for the deep thirst humanity and the diplomatic corp have for peace, in sharp rebuke of wars without purpose or end. Modi’s “Yoga for One World, One Family” resonated, as humanity is suffering from endless wars’ numbness and hope-deconstruction.

After leading the world in Yoga, Modi left for Washington DC to be feted by President Biden as our State Guest. Jill and Joe Biden’s warm welcome everywhere, all the time, was pomp and circumstance come to life, even as it was exhausting and reassuring. What Modi did in Washington DC is nothing short of amazing, as he set a bar so high that few heads of state or governments will ever come close to. His playfulness, none more than during his Second Joint Address, speaks to the comfort level by and amongst the two most important democracies. The bipartisan warmth – led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Leaders Hakeem Jeffries, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell – helps us right here at home to re-unite even after Modi’s departure and become a united States of America.

While there are those who see India as a linchpin to counterbalance China, I reject that disappointing pathway. First, India and Indians have our Bill of Rights as their own, in their Constitution that mirrors ours, due to mutual values and freedoms. Second, nations must reject the narcotic use of Counterbalance in statecraft, as it never works right, and boomerangs. Just, behold us and China. We made China rich and powerful as a counterbalance to the then-USSR. And now, instead of gratitude, even our minimalist desire to establish secure and regular communications between our respective military leadership to avoid miscalculations and misadventure get ignored by China in favor of strategic ambiguity – over and above the inherent Chinese inscrutability culled into an art form over the many centuries, while spy balloons traverse nations’ skyline without a tourist visa – and our Secretary of State Tony Blinken has to play nice in Beijing just to meet President Xi Jinping, who I see as a real life Count of Monte Cristo since his ejection of Hu Jintao on October 22, 2022. Well, truth be told, I prefer we play “nice” rather than “inhospitable,” as in Anchorage, as we are still recovering therefrom.

In 2016, Modi’s Washington Declaration was of “Indivisibility.” This time, he embraced E Pluribus Unum, orated as if he was Mark Anthony of Old Rome, enjoyed himself while playfully engaging in rhetoric and offering to be a bipartisan bridge between the Democrats and the Republicans. He was “at home”; he was talking to his own family; India and America had become a happily married couple, with limitless potential and effortless affection. This Limitless Partnership of democracies is a direct response to the No Limits Partnership between President Xi and Putin of February 4, 2022. If you did not see him live or on video to-date, please do so. It’s Modi’s tour de force, that no foreign leader has come close to Modi’s Joint Address on June 22nd. Leaving Modi’s style and comfort of a son-in-law aside, it’s the substance of 1.4 billion Indians dreaming their “American Dream” as an “Indian Dream” that causes a joinder of nations better than holy matrimony. This collective, is a power of Peace and Freedoms, that authoritarian leaders have to reckon with. My personal hope is that India will soon achieve the “give and take” in our new familial relationship to a durable “win-win.”

Modi’s strongest applause line was when he spoke of Ukraine’s right to her “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Is it any wonder that America and India got married during this Joint Address, as we all proudly bore witness while wondering if this “AI,” America and India, honeymoon was going to last a thousand years as Lincoln ordained.